NORTH ATTLEBORO — Hanson Town Administrator Michael McCue, 52, has been placed on paid administrative leave by Selectmen pending an investigation following an alleged OUI crash in North Attleboro Wednesday, May 29.
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, June 4 voted to appoint the board’s Administrative Assistant Meredith Marini as interim town administrator, “until such time as she is no longer needed in that said role,” a post she has filled before. Marini was also authorized to sign off on auction papers following a scheduled property auction on Wednesday, June 12, which McCue had previously been authorized to sign.
Police and witnesses say the Mansfield resident was driving a Town of Hanson SUV May 29 when he turned left off Route 1 just before 5 p.m. onto Park Street and collided with a vehicle driven by a woman who told police she was 16-weeks pregnant.
She told police her vehicle’s airbags deployed and one struck her in the stomach. She was sitting on the ground and appeared to be upset, according to the report. She was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro for treatment.
Two officers say in their reports that McCue smelled of alcohol, was being evasive toward them, and tried to keep his distance while avoiding eye contact. At one point he put paperwork in his mouth, they say to attempt to keep from breathing in their direction. They said McCue’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy and that he was unsteady on his feet.
After denying consuming any alcohol that day to an officer twice, McCue later admitted to drinking “a few beers at lunch.” According to a source, McCue was coming from a “Tree City USA” conference in Sturbridge. He would not say to police how he came to be in North Attleboro other than to say, “I live in Mansfield.”
McCue was not able to complete roadside sobriety tests to the satisfaction of police.
When he was asked to state the alphabet from the letter B to M, he “continued in groups of letters,” and did not stop at M, reciting the letters N, O, P and Q before stopping.
He later was asked to stand on one foot and was not able to do so. He asked for a second try, could not complete the task, and the officer then “stopped the test … for safety considerations.” McCue referenced a medical condition several times as a reason for not being able to complete the tests.
After failing the roadside sobriety tests, McCue was arrested and taken into custody.
He refused a breathalyze after being taken to the North Attleboro Police Department, resulting in an immediate license suspension, according to a police report and his driving record. He was charged with OUI-liquor (second offense), negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and failure to yield at an intersection.
Other than a 2016 accident, McCue has not had even a speeding ticket in 20 years, according to his driving record, although it is his second OUI offense. His first OUI occurred in 1995 and was continued without a finding in Wrentham District Court.
McCue was arraigned in Attleboro District Court Thursday morning by Judge Edmund C. Mathers. The case has been continued to June 28 for a pre-trial hearing.
The town-owned vehicle McCue was driving was towed to Reil Auto, a secure-lot in North Attleboro, and later to the Hanson Police Department. Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch said that the SUV is now at a body shop being repaired. The extent of the damage cannot be confirmed.
McCue has been Town Administrator since 2016, and succeeded Ron San Angello, the last contracted Town Administrator. Marini served as interim town administrator at that time.
McCue’s salary is currently $119,646 and his contract, which was extended last year, is set to expire in 2022. He can be disciplined or dismissed by the Board of Selectmen for just cause.
Hanson Selectmen became aware of the incident Wednesday night, and scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday. At that meeting, which was attended by one member of the public, the board voted unanimously to put McCue on paid administrative leave following an investigation into “misconduct.”
The town did not respond to a request for a statement, although Hanson labor counsel Jaime Kenny said that it was a “personnel matter.”
The condition of the alleged victim and her unborn baby is unknown at this time.
McCue did not respond to repeated attempts for comment.
(Express Editor Tracy F. Seelye contributed to this report.)